Guard Your Heart

[A few thoughts from the petrified mind of a daddy

to the curious ears of his young daughters]:

When I was a little boy we used to have a pet mutt named Binky. She was, without a doubt, the best friend a lonely, home-schooled kid could ever have. Although she was part feline and 1/8th sloth, my love for her was unconditional! She used to snore beneath my bed, as I’d lay awake in our A-framed house on Byron Road.

Something suffocated my palpating heart the afternoon of her premature exodus. An unsuspecting motorist had collided with Binky, and the screeches of halting tires in front of our house had interrupted an otherwise captivating episode of Little House on the Prairie. We all ran outside to scrape her from the pavement…

I watched my dad bury her in the wooded lot behind our house. A concrete brick was left to serve as a headstone, and that was her farewell. Life was assumed to have resumed. I remember retreating to the basement where I was reunited with the Ingalls family via a black & white television. In the privacy of an otherwise empty room, I cried my little eyes out.

Where does this come from? How does a seven year-old boy clutch so fiercely to the solace of security and attachment? And whatever happened to this elemental dis-ease of innocence? There was a time in the life of a young child when statistics had names and faces had stories, news broadcasting injustice was incomprehensible to the cognition of a second grader on the playground! As the mind “matured” through the evolution of experience, it also became desensitized to the Spirit’s conviction against the murder of hope.

As I watch the expression on your faces when the thunder roars and the lightning shatters, I wonder what happened to my heart. Have the wounds received and the lessons learned somehow hijacked my youthful exuberance? Why don’t I tremble at the foot of the storm or blink in the eye of the hurricane? I am envious of your emotional connectedness to the groaning of all creation.

My prayer for you, my daughters, is that you will guard your hearts in such a way that you will never lose sensitivity. I beg of you three resolutions:

May you pledge allegiance to a Hope that springs eternal

This hope is born in a furnace of doubt, and experienced when everything else has been torn asunder. It is the practice of resurrection in the spirit that is depleted. This hope is in a Divine Movement, not a temporary boyfriend. This hope is the fuel that powers the engine of your heart, and keeps you going when you have nothing left to give.

May you establish concrete boundaries around your heart

This fortress is not to prevent you from getting out, but to protect the enemy from invading your castle with his lies and counterfeit promises. In the building and maintaining of a fortress, you will recognize the fleeting kisses of betrayal, the empty choruses of the crowd, and the shallow contracts offered by popular culture. Do not invite this poison in to your life! Do not open the door to the knocking of foreign invaders; they will tear down your gates and plunder your savings.

May you become a flood of blessing to those around you

As your heart remains pure, it erupts as a fountain of water within. It is “the wellspring of life”, and a thirsty world is waiting for a drink of the hope that is within you. May your heart rise like an ocean’s tidewater, bringing refreshing encouragement to those who are within your reach. And as you pour out love, mercy, and forgiveness – may God replenish your reserves in due season.

“…above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

– Proverbs 4:23

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